Exercise: Signs and Symbols

The brief:

Reading existing signs symbols and images create a new symbol for one of these concepts:

Danger, Movement, Love, Here.

Research how existing visual language represents these concepts, document this through drawings, examples, mind maps. Then create an alternative symbol to represent at least one of the above concepts.


I decided to pick ‘movement’ as I felt this might offer some different options to ‘danger’ and ‘love’ which have such typecast symbols. I started by looking at the definition of ‘movement’ and then brainstormed possible avenues off that. Movement has a very broad definition, it isn’t just the act of something moving, it can refer to political groups/stages and to military tactics.



I then thought it might be a good idea to research how other artists/designers have looked at movement in their work. I used the Tate’s website which categorizes work by theme’s and found movement was one of them. I saved images of work by a couple of artists as samples of what lots of other artists did to represent movement:

Sketch book page showing images of 'movement'

Sketch book page showing images of ‘movement’

Sketchbook page with more images of movement

Sketchbook page with more images of movement


IMG_2076Movement seems to visual depicted by:

  • geometric shapes arranged alongside each other in such a way as to give the allusion physically moving.
  • lines, strokes that are curved or move across a page.
  • the colour blue seems to be used quite a lot – perhaps as a link to the sea which is rarely still?
  • fashion photo’s – models wearing clothes that flow freely in wind or give appearance of being moved.
  • dancers/people physically walking running etc.
  • colour – often highly contrasting colours or multiple colours can give something the feeling of moving.
  • Political movement – the sign or placard is a symbol of protest?

From this I began to think about how I would re-represent movement, could I do it using existing images of movement?

'Movement' brain storm

‘Movement’ brain storm

Rough sketches of ideas

Rough sketches of ideas

I did a couple of very rough sketches of ideas. One using the word movement and symbols of things related to movement. But that seemed too much to be a cheats method? Then I thought about representing it through marks made by movement or related to and then having those things look like they were moving across the page by drawing them in a wiggled or curved line.

Then it occurred to me I could create something out of cut outs of things moving so i began to cut out images from magazines that I thought represented movement.

Splash square 1 splash square 2 Trail Train waves sqyare Bike wheel Dance square 1 Dance square 1_0001 hair movement square Shoes 1 Shoes 2 shoes 3 Skate


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